- Think it's exciting to have a crazy driver
- Sit tight, trust in fate, and hope to survive
- Get off the bus at the very next stop - assuming this was a city bus with lots of stops
- Call 911 for help
- Try to disable the bus, say, by turning off the ignition
- Get the driver out of the driver's seat
- Jump out of the emergency exit
But what does a country with democratic traditions do? The wheels of democracy turn slowly. We're bound by the rule of law.
We also thought we were bound by tradition, but we now have a president who ignores those traditional restraints that are necessary in a civil society. Miss Manners can only tell us what is proper, she has no enforcement powers to prevent the child-president from violating any tradition or policy that isn't backed by statute. And getting the Justice Department or Congress to enforce the statutes is also problematic.
This seems to be the situation we're in. So many rules of national etiquette are being violated, but the law doesn't deal with that. And getting enough proof of statutory violations takes time, especially with the president's nominal party in control of Congress.
Norms are enforced by enough people agreeing the driver needs to be taken out of the driver's seat.
But Republicans in Congress are hoping the driver will go by their favorite neighborhoods (where they can, say, repeal ACA or cut corporate taxes) before the bus crashes.
That leaves it up to Democrats to put up as many roadblocks as they can until enough Republicans realize the futility of this Trumpian bargain.
You can play this exercise with other occupations.
- If your doctor acted like Trump
- If your high school teacher acted like Trump
- If your pilot acted like Trump
- If your boss (of the job you really need) acted like Trump
- If your priest acted like Trump
It works less well where there is a one to one relationship - like a doctor-patient relationship where the patient could just leave.
It works better in situations like a teacher, or a supervisor of many people, situations where one risks something if she stands up alone.
Using these analogies may help identify strategies to stop this president before he does something so terrible (where the damage can't be undone) that the timid can no longer stand by and do nothing.
Actually, that kind of damage is already happening, but to marginalized and demonized people that the majority of Americans don't identify with, so they don't feel the damage or the personal threat, yet.
And that is part of the danger - that violating the long-standing traditions becomes the new norm.
Think about how people reacted to his speech to Congress Wednesday. Because he didn't rant and rave, they thought it was an improvement. It's like he has been running 20 minute miles, and now he ran a 15 minute mile and people think that's great. Except that great runners do a mile around 4 minutes. And when you are president, you shouldn't be mediocre.
This also reveals how people pay more attention to tone than to content. Although he didn't have any outbursts, his speech was full of factual errors and generalities. No details of how he's going to get all those jobs, improve education, or pay for that wall.
I predict that as Republicans realize that the ACA is not going to be repealed until they offer a health care plan just as good or better (in which case Obama's goal is still fulfilled), as they realize that Trump doesn't care about the deficit, or international political and economic stability, they will join the Democrats in stopping this bus driver. Let's hope this happens before there's a spectacular crash.
This Andrew Sullivan piece echoes these ideas about the reaction to Trump's speech, but he puts it in the context of how abused spouses feel when their abuser is nice to them.